155 – Nicole and Jay McCann: Exploring the Power of Team Renovations

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Nicole and Jay McCann Exploring the power of team renovations

Nicole and Jay McCann: Exploring the Power of Team Renovations

At The School of Renovating our focus is to uplift women through our Wonder Women program to become stellar renovators. I recently chatted to one of our Wonder Women, Nicole, and her husband and partner, Jay. I have the pleasure of sharing with you that they have successfully completed their first for-profit ‘team renovation’ in Wollongong. It is inspiring to see their success working as a team!

Our purpose at The School of Renovating is to empower women to take control of their lives through renovating. The reality, though, is that it can also involve the input of a few good men. Many of us do have good men in our lives and their support often gives us wings so we can fly.

 Watch the Episode on Video:

Nicole and Jay McCann: Exploring the Power of Team Renovations

  • [01:41] The value of coaching program, mentorship and community
  • [02:30] 80% of Wonder Women Diamonds have on going reno projects
  • [04:05] What got Nicole and Jay interested in renovating
  • [05:35] Nicole’s trainings in renovating
  • [07:55] Nicole and Jay’s first project 
  • [10:40] Renovation challenges amidst Covid-19
  • [14:13] First project profit
  • [14:29] Working as a team
  • [16:04] A husband’s support makes a massive difference
  • [17:40] Families that renovate together, stay together
  • [19:21] Nicole and Jay’s secret sauce
  • [20:57] Nicole and Jay’s next project
  • [23:48] The biggest challenge in renovating
Nicole and Jay McCann Exploring the power of team renovations

We have the same goals. We both enjoy the property and we always have, it is a common interest …
~ Jay McCann

Wonder Women Renovators

If you are to succeed in the business of renovating, it is essential to develop your craft. Often that means paying for education programs that give you the tools you need to see a project through; from picking out the right property, to hiring your trades and selling the renovated property for a profit.

I am proud that our  Wonder Women Program offers so much more than just information. It is a coaching program that offers mentorship and community. We keep our community small so we can have a personal approach. We strive to understand everyone’s problems and challenges so that we can help them get results. 

Our numbers speak for themselves. Of the twenty women on our top-level Diamond Program, 80% of them are currently active with renovating; and 20% are in the process of securing a property to renovate. I am extremely proud of those numbers. I think it is a testament to the fact that what we do works!

How The Team Of Nicole And Jay McCann Got Into Renovations For Profit

Nicole and Jay, their two boys and a couple of dogs live on the coast and love going to the beach. They have a business that involves apple products and Nicole used to work as a makeup artist. 

Nicole’s interest in renovating was piqued while she was flipping through a magazine one day when she was waiting for one of her kids to finish a swimming lesson. She came across an article that introduced her to the idea of renovating for profit. She then started actively following people who were already doing it and looking at courses that could give her the skills she needed to start in the renovating business. Nicole said:

One thing led to another, Jay was keen and we took the leap.

Once Nicole and Jay had decided renovating for profit was a business they would like to explore, they took some time to get their finances sorted out. They asked themselves a number of important questions including:

  • What does the business of renovating involve?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Do we need to have the cash to start a renovation project?
  • What does a renovation entail?
  • What will make us money?
  • What will result in us losing money?

Education Is The Key To Avoiding Expensive Mistakes On Your Renovation Projects

I have often heard people say things like: “A $5000 dollar course. What a waste of money!” Nicole pointed out the absurdity of this statement when she said:

I feel like you could easily make more than a $5000 mistake by just not knowing what you have to do.

Ours was not the first program Nicole did. It is important that you find the course that works for you. One size doesn’t fit all. The first course Nicole did was Sheree Barber’s course. It was this platform that showed Nicole that renovating for profit was possible and doable. She and Jay were not in the position to start renovating yet, but Nicole was hungry for knowledge. She wanted to know what other people were doing. Nicole went on to complete another handful of courses before coming to The School of Renovating. She says that she really enjoyed the community and how we nurture each other in our program. 

Nicole And Jay’s First Team Renovation Project

Nicole was, and still is, working for Jay’s business in an administrative capacity when they finally decided it was time to jump into renovating. Covid made it difficult for Nicole to continue with her freelance makeup artist business. So, Nicole and Jay sat down and evaluated their options.

They had an investment property in Wollongong that had shown good capital growth. In August, they decided to take the leap and sold the property. When they were closing the deal on their property with the Real Estate Agent, they asked if they had any other properties for them.

It turns out the agent had a very interesting property for them. It was a little house in a lifestyle village. It was a small entry point, since for that kind of property you are just buying the house. You lease the land it is on. 

They spent just $250,000. There were no stamp duties. All they had to do was renovate the house and resell it. 

Overcoming Renovation Challenges

Every renovating project comes with its own set of challenges. For Jay and Nicole their first stumbling block was the two week shutdown of trades due to Covid as soon as they had concluded the purchase of their property.

The house was a demountable home. The walls were made from freezer foam with an aluminum frame. So, they were not able to make any changes to the walls.

Their final challenge was the time it took to sell the property once it was renovated. Most of the people looking to buy a house in a lifestyle estate don’t have cash; they have to sell the homes they are living in first. Nicole and Jay had a lot of interest and a few offers, but they all hinged on the sale of another property. The delay meant that they had to pay the lease for the land every week until they sold it.

Defining The Scope Of The Work

Before Nicole and Jay started their renovation, the bathroom and laundry were combined into a single small space that was not at all functional. They said the bedrooms were okay but the kitchen needed a lot of work. 

Nicole and Jay took the house back to its bare bones and changed the whole layout. They were able to put double doors out to the backyard and install a deck, creating the desirable “inside–outside” that the other properties in the estate do not have. In the end the house had a really nice flow. Nicole explained:

So literally we did everything: paint, flooring, new kitchen, new bathroom, laundry, carpets, curtains, paint  everywhere… We even had to repaint the outside of it. So we pretty much did everything except put a new roof on.

This project was a great kick start on Nicole’s new career. They bought the property for $250,000 and sold it for $420,000, making a profit of roughly $100,000.

Working On Team Renovation Projects As A Husband-Wife Team

We call ourselves “She Renovates”. We are about empowering women financially through renovating. I have to say it, though, having a few good men in the mix is an awesome asset. It gives you an incredible competitive advantage if you and your partner are able to make decisions together.

In Nicole and Jay’s case, Jay told me that he is colourblind, so all of the design and styling is up to Nicole. When it comes to looking at a property, they ask themselves and each other what they want to achieve with the house, whether it is the layout or design. Jay said:

At the end of the day, this is Nicole’s passion… I’m here to support her.

That support makes a massive difference. My husband is in the building industry. He has next to no involvement in my projects, unless I need him and then I know I have his backing. I think that’s really important because it’s your confidence that really pushes you on and is the secret to success. 

Nicole and Jay highlighted the importance of reaching out to other people when you disagree with each other. On their current project, they have asked the opinion of the other members of our Wonder Women Diamond community as well as their estate agent. 

The Secret To Success For A Family-Run Renovating Business

I have a theory that families that renovate together, stay together. It can be the glue that binds, provided you are both on the same page, working towards the same goals. Every team has their own renovation secret sauce.

Nicole and Jay have both always enjoyed property. They designed and built the first house they owned because they didn’t like what was available on the market. 

Jay says that while he and Nicole are in the renovating business together, Nicole is in the driving seat:

This is Nicole’s passion and her drive, so she can drive it and, I’m more than happy to sit in the passenger’s seat for it. So we have a common interest, but there’s only one cook in the kitchen.

They are both keen to keep learning and growing. Their future goals are:

  • Short-term: Building up cash so that they can do larger projects with at least two projects that create $100,000 profit.
  • Medium-term: Move into a bigger forever family home.
  • Long-term: Make renovating a full-time business.

It was really great to chat with Nicola and Jay. Their team is approaching their renovation business with level heads and great discipline, figuring out what they want to achieve and how long it should take them to do that.

Check out The School of Renovating Wonder Women Program to find out how you too can start a successful renovating business.

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